Fiddle-leaf figs are technically trees, as are many other varieties of trees. F. lyrata plants can benefit from trimming and pruning to remain healthy.
You may maintain this notoriously picky houseplant by removing dead or damaged leaves and branches or cutting to improve airflow between the foliage.
It won’t be hostile toward you, your home, or the entire globe, at least. Fiddle-leaf figs may have a cute name, but I’d argue they’re some of the plants with the most strong opinions.
You may prevent your fig from outgrowing your house by pruning. Under optimal indoor growing conditions, F. lyrata can reach heights of 12 feet. Additionally, F. lyrata can reach heights of up to 50 feet in its native habitat, the lowland rainforests of western Africa!
It won’t do this in your house, but until it reaches its adult height, it can grow up to two feet per year. Pruning is a necessary if you don’t want your ficus to overshadow, well, everything.
If you don’t want to maintain a large tree within your home, you can alternatively cultivate a dwarf type of the plant. But nothing is more breathtaking than a tall, healthy F. lyrata adding to the decor of a chic residence.
Shape is another factor to take into account. Although fiddle-leaf figs are frequently sold as small, bushy or columnar houseplants with a single central stem, many gardeners like growing their own fiddle-leaf figs so that they take on the form of a tree.
We’ll get into all of that shortly. Let’s start by discussing when and how to prune your prized F. lyrata.
Should I remove the fiddle leaf fig’s bottom leaves?
Similar to sculpting a masterpiece, shaping your fiddle leaf fig requires that you start with an idea of what you want the finished product to look like.
To ensure that the remaining foliage looks balanced, I find it helpful to label all the branches you want to remove with colorful tape or a Post-it Note before you begin. To lessen the risk of shock, start out gently and never remove more than 10% of your plant at once.
Decide on Your Ideal Shape
Fiddle leaf fig plants often have one of two shapes: a bush or a tree.
Smaller plants are typically bushier, whereas larger plants are typically more fashioned like trees. You might want to start shaping your little plant into a tree as it grows. Choose whether you want to prune your plant to maintain its compact bush shape or to give it a correct tree shape.
Plan to Remove Damaged Leaves or Branches
So that you can arrange to eliminate the least healthy parts of your plant first, evaluate the general health of each branch and group of leaves. Mark any sections that need to be removed if there are any leaves with brown spots or branches with smaller leaf growth.
Remove Crossing Branches
To increase airflow and relieve crowding, you should eliminate some portions of densely populated branches. You should take care of any branches that touch each other as well as any leaves that are preventing one another’s leaves from growing.
Create Your Ideal Shape
Any growth that is 8 to 10 inches or less from the ceiling, the surrounding walls, or the furniture should be planned for removal. Next, cut off any growth that does not conform to your ideal shape.
Remove lower leaves and branches to reveal a good trunk if you want to create a tree-like shape. Remove gangly or ugly growth if your plant is out of balance to give it a more appealing overall form.
How to Make Your Cuts
Pruning should begin once you’ve marked the sections you want to cut out and made sure you like the way the tree looks in its finished form. When pruning your plant, make sure the cutting motion does not crush or harm the stem by using a sharp, clean tool.
Cut each one away from the trunk or any leaves by about a half-inch. With no chance of infection spreading to the main trunk or any surviving leaves, this enables your plant to heal properly. In order to prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases, pick up and dispose of any falling leaves or garbage.
New Growth After Pruning
If your plant is healthy, it will typically divide the branch where it was pruned, producing two branches where one once was.
Eventually, this creates the impression of a fuller, healthier plant. Your plant might only continue to develop one branch where it was clipped if it is in pain or isn’t getting enough light. After pruning, allow access to lots of light to promote more development.
Fertilize After Pruning
Fertilize your plant frequently after pruning to promote new growth and aid in the plant’s recovery from the shock of pruning. (Are you unsure of the ideal fertilizer for your fiddle leaf fig? Test out our plant food! Within a few weeks to a month after pruning your plant, you ought to notice new growth.
Potential Cause 1: Root Rot
Brown stains on the roots from a fungus caused by too much moisture. Root rot is brought by by over watering and bad drainage, and it eventually affects your plant’s leaves.
How to Correct It
Removing the pot and looking at the roots is the only way to be confident that your plant has root rot. Root rot is at blame if the roots are mushy and discolored. Let your plant dry out for around two weeks if there are only a few brown patches on the leaves so that the roots have enough time to heal.
Make sure your plant gets enough light, and remove any damaged leaves. If there are several brown patches, you should remove any brown, mushy roots and the affected leaves before repotting the plant and being careful not to overwater it in the future.
Potential Cause 2: Bacterial Infection
In addition to the brown spots, your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s leaves will yellow as a result of bacterial leaf spot. In contrast to bacterial leaf spot, which causes the leaf to turn yellow as the brown spot spreads, root rot often causes the leaves to remain dark green with brown patches. Your Fiddle Leaf Fig’s leaves will eventually drop off due to both bacterial leaf spot and root rot. Since bacterial leaf spot tends to feed on new growth, it is likely to be to fault if your younger leaves are suffering more than your older leaves.
Unfortunately, this is the Fiddle Leaf Fig condition that is most difficult to treat. It can already be too late for your plant, even with the right care and watering. Cut off all of the leaves that have brown spots if the damage is not severe, then repot your plant in new, sterile soil. While it is healing, give it lots of light and don’t water as frequently.
Potential Cause 3: Insect Damage
Although uncommon, insect illnesses leave clear signs. Check your plant for webs or insects using a magnifying glass. Small patches that develop into holes on the leaves are a sure sign of insect damage.
Treatment for insect infestations is simple. Use neem oil products made specifically for indoor plants. Alternately, you might make your own cure by mixing a few teaspoons of mineral oil and baking soda in a spray bottle with water. Spray the entire affected area of the plant after thoroughly shaking the solution. Your other houseplants should not be near diseased plants. Neem oil has an overpowering odor, so move your plant outside if you can. Spray your fiddle leaf fig’s leaves with a strong mist. Don’t forget to spray the area where the leaf meets the stem after turning each leaf to cover the underside. If more spraying is required, wait two weeks, inspect once more, then repeat the process.
Potential Cause 4: Your Plant is Too Dry
Dry tan or brown regions that originate at the edge of the leaf and force the leaf to curl make dry plant brown spots simpler to identify. Your plant will occasionally appear dry or wilted overall, and the dirt may have retreated from the pot (shrinkage). This may result in the water never reaching the root ball and instead running between the pot and the soil.
Consider transferring your Fiddle Leaf Fig to a more moderate area if it is currently close to a heater or in an extremely dry environment. When the soil is 50 to 75 percent dry, water as needed, and keep an eye on your plant to make sure it’s getting enough hydration. Use a humidifier close to your plant or try misting it once to three days. Make sure the root ball of your plant is completely submerged in water by giving it a long sip. Make sure the pot’s bottom is dripping with water. Before placing the plant back on its saucer, let it to rest and drain any extra water.
Where should a fiddle leaf fig be trimmed?
As I indicated earlier, many growers like to cultivate a traditional tree shape, complete with a distinct canopy and trunk. However, F. lyrata tends to grow in a columnar or bushy shape when kept as a houseplant.
In the wild, F. lyrata does this on its own by losing its lower leaves and growing into its original shape as a banyan tree.
like the renowned “Wild F. lyrata and ordinary banyan, F. benghalensis, both start out their lives as epiphytes. When a seed falls into another tree’s canopy, it germinates, develops, and eventually strangles its host plant as it descends to the ground.
Your houseplant won’t do this, of course, but the tree shape is attractive. How can a rambunctious F. lyrata be transformed into a tall, graceful specimen?
First off, if you’ve recently acquired a highly sought-after fiddle-leaf, hold off on starting to prune it into a tree shape.
Whatever two-thirds of the intended height means to you within the boundaries of your space, let it grow to that point. The trunk might become strong and thick as a result.
It’s advisable to top the tree out at least eight to ten inches away from the ceiling if you want it to grow tall.
This not only improves the appearance but also prevents the top leaves from bending and slamming against your ceiling.
Say, for instance, that you want to top your tree off at about seven or eight feet and that your home has nine-foot ceilings. You shouldn’t begin trimming for lateral growth until the trunk is at least five feet tall based on these measurements.
Wait until spring or summer when the plant is actively growing before pruning your fiddle-leaf fig to generate a tree form with branching lateral growth. Then, make a cut at least six inches down from the tip of the tree.
You can preserve and grow this cutting! Cut in an internodal space, if possible.
Don’t remove the leaves that are below the cut. So that the plant can photosynthesize and generate energy to grow those lateral branches, you want them to stay.
Within a few weeks, your F. lyrata will start to branch from the cut. Although this tree occasionally produces just one branch, it frequently produces two or three additional lateral branches.
You can remove one or two leaves from the tree’s base once the new branches have developed leaves.
The hue of the leaves and emerging branches will deepen as the canopy ages. Feel free to remove one or two more leaves from the bottom part of the trunk once you become aware of this.
You can continue to prune leaves away from the tree’s trunk as the canopy grows over time. You’ll eventually grow a tidy trunk that supports a Y-shaped canopy.
Note: Some knowledgeable gardeners enjoy using a technique called “creating lateral branches by notching. Using this technique, the gardener carefully cuts through two nodes. This cut is supposed to encourage the tree to generate lateral branches without losing height.
Because of the fast growth of F. lyrata and the fact that we are confident that pruning for lateral branch growth yields reliable results, we advise using this technique to produce that attractive canopy.
After pruning, give your plant the best care possible by providing it with the right amount of water, fertilizer, and light, which will hasten the healing of its wounds.
Should brown leaf tips be trimmed?
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We’ve experienced our fair share of brown, decaying leaves as we’ve learned how to properly care for various home plants over the years. We weren’t sure at first whether to take them out or leave them. Here is what we’ve discovered works the best.
Do you need to remove the dead leaves? Yes. Your indoor plants should have brown and withering leaves removed as quickly as possible, but only if they are more than 50% damaged. By removing these leaves, the plant looks better and the healthy foliage that is left can receive more nutrients.
Even though it might appear straightforward, there’s more to it than merely cutting those leaves off. To keep your plant healthy, you must assess how much of the leaf is dying and then carefully remove the damaged areas.
What should you do with a fiddle leaf fig that has brown edges?
Unfortunately, treating this problem in a fiddle leaf fig is one of the most difficult things to do.
The idea is to treat the areas as soon as you can to prevent further damage from occurring. Making sure your plant’s roots dry out between waterings and that it receives enough of sunlight are important components of the treatment, which is comparable to treating root rot.
If the damage is not severe, remove any of the leaves that have brown spots and repot your plant in a container with good drainage using fresh, sterile soil. While it is healing, give it lots of light and don’t water as frequently.
Use our Leaf Armor, which was created to shield your houseplant against fungus, insects, and bacteria in addition to bacteria.
Why should I Wiggle my Fiddle leaf fig?
Your indoor tree’s trunk can be moved to simulate wind, which will help you become more resilient outside. You can also leave your tree outside for extended periods of time to strengthen its trunk and expose it to the elements. Once you get the leaves inside, be sure to inspect them for bugs.
What are the best growing conditions for an indoor fiddle leaf fig tree?
Know that your fiddle leaf fig tree prefers moderate temperature changes and place it in a sunny spot within the house. The tree should be planted in a container with well-draining soil that is kept humid but not soggy since this might cause root rot.
Why isn’t my fiddle leaf fig tree flowering?
You should be careful not to overwater your fiddle leaf fig because it is prone to root rot. When storing the fig within a container, make sure the bottom has lots of holes to allow for proper drainage.
How do I fix a leggy fiddle leaf fig tree?
Give a leggy or tilted fiddle leaf fig tree bright, filtered sunshine as treatment. Please place your plant in the area of the house that gets the most indirect sunlight, which is usually six to eight hours per day. Don’t keep it in the Sun for too long, though; doing so could scorch the leaves.
Will wiggling my fiddle leaf fig tree weaken its roots?
Every one to two weeks, wiggle your fiddle leaf fig tree for 1.5 to 2 minutes to significantly thicken the trunk. Beginning with light shaking, progressively build up the force. If your plant is stake-supported, move it about at first with the support in place. You can take the stake out once your fig tree has gotten used to this practice.